Celebrating Title IX Day: It Isn’t Just About Sports

So I’ve been seeing a few posts and twitter status celebrating Title IX’s anniversary today and wanted to write a quick blurb out there to add what’s been circulating. Today is the 38th birthday(anniversary?) of the enactment of Title IX. What exactly is Title IX? Well, History.com says

It begins: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” As a result of Title IX, any school that receives any federal money from the elementary to university level–in short, nearly all schools–must provide fair and equal treatment of the sexes in all areas, including athletics.

Title IX is most popular when talking about equality for athletics, but it also is relevant when it comes to sexual assault in schools. I had written a lot about Title IX and sexual assault on my blog RapedatTufts, but unfortunately I lost all my work, so I can’t link you. Basically in the context of sexual assault, Title IX requires schools to eliminate the hostile environment created by sexual harassment. By law, sexual assault is under the umbrella of sexual harassment.

For some quick reading about that other facet of Title IX that isn’t often spoken about check out:

When a student doesn’t perform well in school and is kicked out or drops out or fails a class or three after being sexually assaulted, their access to education has been hindered. If a school knows about this student’s rape and refuses to help them, then they are denying that student their equal access to education guaranteed to them by Title IX. Sarah just posted about a recent ruling that allowed a survivor from UW-Parkside to sue the school for not doing anything about her sexual assault. The presiding Magistrate concluded that “the sexual harassment was severe and pervasive enough to alter conditions of the woman’s education and ‘deprive her entirely of access to an educational opportunity or benefit.’”

The Center for Public Integrity earlier this year has highlighted that there has little very weak enforcement of this, but fortunately things have been changing for the better. However, there’s a lot more attention on the issue of campus sexual assault and the case about the UW-Parkside assault shows that the enforcement of the law is making progress. Here’s to hoping that Title IX continues to improve and protect the rights of many.

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